The Connecticut Cancer Partnership, a coalition comprising volunteers representing 150 organizations and 400 individual members involved in cancer control from around the state, presents the Connecticut Cancer Plan, 2014-2017. This Plan, a road map for controlling cancer in our state, addresses prevention, early detection and treatment, as well as quality of life for patients and survivors and for those facing the end of life. We recognize first and foremost that differences in cancer outcomes, based on race, socioeconomic status and other factors exist in our state. Therefore a primary goal is to carefully assess the impact of policies and practices that can help improve health equity and eliminate cancer disparities.
Although we have made substantial progress since the release of the Connecticut Cancer Plan 2009-2013, cancer remains a significant problem in Connecticut. Cancer is the second leading cause of death (after heart disease) in both Connecticut and the United States.2,3 Connecticut’s 2010 cancer incidence rate was the fifth highest in the nation at 478.4 4, compared with the national incidence rate of 430.5 per 100,000 population. (This may in part be due to higher screening and early detection rates.5) Yet, the state’s cancer death rate has been decreasing, from 176.3 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 162.4 per 100,000 population in 2010. The Healthy People 2020 goal is 160.6 per 100,000. An additional concern is the fact that between 2000 and 2011, Connecticut saw a sharp increase in hospitalization costs related to cancer care, rising from $369 million in 2000 to $907 million in 2011, an increase of more than 200 percent.
Increased prevention efforts, earlier detection and advances in treatment, as well as healthy behavioral changes, have resulted in decreases in incidence and mortality rates and improvements in survival from the four most commonly diagnosed cancers: breast, colorectal, lung and prostate. Conversely, while great progress has been made to reduce the burden of cancer on the people of Connecticut, not all residents have benefitted equally and alarming disparities in morbidity and mortality persist. Equitable provision of and access to quality services must be a priority. Culturally sensitive approaches to improve the health of all state residents are required, including policy, systems and environmental changes.
“The Connecticut Cancer Partnership has been a vehicle for developing and sustaining public health partnerships and for integrating the science and practice of public health relative to cancer prevention and control and staying abreast of developments in cancer prevention and control re. science, funding opportunities, the status of programming and policy in our state and nationally.
Issues of equity and education advocacy all figure into the benefits/activities of the partnerships.”
Yale School of Public Health
Eight-year Partnership member
This Plan is designed to help guide and support the cancer control community, policy makers and all Connecticut residents in:
- Promoting healthy lifestyles to reduce the risk of cancer incidence and advocating for residents to receive recommended cancer screenings
- Increasing access to quality cancer care, including palliative care across the continuum
- Enhancing quality of life for cancer survivors and
- Ensuring that high-quality hospice care services are available and accessible to all residents
Our plan is structured around goals, objectives and strategic actions. Goals, which are broad and idealistic, reflect our vision statements. Objectives represent the activities that can be carried out by the Partnership, primarily through its committee structure and staff. Strategic actions are examples of activities that may be implemented by member/partner organizations of the Partnership over the four years of the Plan.
To identify strategic actions that address our objectives, the Partnership will hold a meeting each year to rank priorities and develop an action plan. Based on these priorities, specific committees, organizations and/or task forces will focus on ways to make progress in each area.
This four-year Plan does not address implementation funding issues directly. Focusing on policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes provides a sustainable high-impact approach to health improvement efforts. We charge all organizations to take an active role, working collaboratively to leverage support for implementation and to move forward, using this blueprint as a consensus–based guide for resource allocation.
The Partnership will monitor Plan objectives and implementation strategies, as well as data sources, to assess progress toward meeting each goal over time. The goals and objectives are summarized below. Detailed strategic actions, background information and promising practices are located in the Goals section.
2: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2013. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2013.
3: CT Department of Public Health. 2008-2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data.
5: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/screening_rates.htm Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
6: Connecticut Department of Public Health (2000). Hospitalization Statistics. http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3131&q=397512 Accessed July 15, 2013